football

Rebels stand out for LB Mathis

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Junior linebacker Mario Mathis of Thomasville (Ga.) isn't quite ready to name a leader but he admitted that one program stands out.
That would be Ole Miss.
"[Rebels assistant] Coach [Derrick] Nix always keeps up with me," Mathis said. "We talk about how I'm one of their top recruits out there. And Coach [Hugh] Freeze really wants to meet me. He can't wait to meet me. I've never been to Ole Miss. I think they have a lot of faith in me. They say I'm the type of guy they need for their defense."
The 6-feet-2, 225-pound Mathis will make his first trip to Oxford on April 20.
Thus far, Mathis has offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Alabama and South Florida. The Bulldogs were the latest to pull the trigger, doing so earlier this week. South Carolina has yet to offer, but that is another program about which Mathis speaks highly.
The newest offer "is another blessing," Mathis said.
Mathis, who had surgery in January to repair the ACL in his left knee, recently traveled to Clemson and South Carolina and the feedback from each was similar, he said.
"They told me they're waiting for me to run on my leg so they can see what I look like," Mathis said. "Then they'll tell me what's up."
Mathis said he is not yet 100 percent, but will begin jogging next week. He will not participate in spring practice. Once fully healthy, he hopes to compete in some summer camps, and he is optimistic that will help him land more offers.
"I'll be ready by the summer," Mathis said. "I'm going to camps. They'll see a different person. I'll have my whole leg by then. I'll be 100 percent."
Keith Niebuhr can be reached at Keithrivals@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter @KeithRIVALS.
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